Modeling surface disinfection needs to meet microbial risk reduction targets

Amanda M. Wilson, Kelly A. Reynolds, Jonathan D. Sexton, Robert A. Canales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Nosocomial viral infections are an important cause of health careacquired infections where fomites have a role in transmission. Using stochastic modeling to quantify the effects of surface disinfection practices on nosocomial pathogen exposures and infection risk can inform cleaning practices. The purpose of this study was to predict the effect of surface disinfection on viral infection risks and to determine needed viral reductions to achieve risk targets. Rotavirus, rhinovirus, and influenza A virus infection risks for two cases were modeled. Case 1 utilized a single fomite contact approach, while case 2 assumed 6 h of contact activities. A 94.1% viral reduction on surfaces and hands was measured following a single cleaning round using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectant in an urgent care facility. This value was used to model the effect of a surface disinfection intervention on infection risk. Risk reductions for other surface-cleaning efficacies were also simulated. Surface reductions required to achieve risk probability targets were estimated. Under case 1 conditions, a 94.1% reduction in virus surface concentration reduced infection risks by 94.1%. Under case 2 conditions, a 94.1% reduction on surfaces resulted in median viral infection risks being reduced by 92.96 to 94.1% and an influenza A virus infection risk below one in a million. Surface concentration in the equations was highly correlated with dose and infection risk outputs. For rotavirus and rhinovirus, a > 99.99% viral surface reduction would be needed to achieve a one-in-a-million risk target. This study quantifies reductions of infection risk relative to surface disinfectant use and demonstrates that risk targets for low-infectious-dose organisms may be more challenging to achieve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00709-18
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Fomite
  • Infection control
  • MS2
  • Quantitative microbial risk assessment
  • Risk target

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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